Paul Giamatti Cast as Nikita Khrushchev in HBO Biopic K BLOWS TOP; Tom Hanks Will Produce

     July 28, 2010

paul_giamatti_nikita_Khrushchev_slice

Not too long ago, Paul Giamatti ventured into the history of the United States in the Emmy-nominated HBO miniseries John Adams. Now Variety reports he’ll go back into the past with HBO yet again: the actor is attached to play Nikita Khrushchev in a film chronicling the Soviet Union leader’s 13-day American sojourn in September 1959, a time when Cold War tensions between the world superpowers were running high. Tom Hanks’ Playtone is collaborating with HBO to produce the project, still in the early stages of development; Paul Bernbaum (Next, Hollywoodland) will write the script. Though it sounds like a poignant dive into history, details after the jump illustrate why this may be a little less heavy than something like John Adams.

k_blows_top_book_coverAside from the attempt to settle the dispute between world superpowers over West Berlin (an agreement which should have been made before Khrushchev made the journey) one key event includes a whiny fit from the Soviet leader after a planned trip to Disneyland was put on hold because of certain security concerns. Apparently the book upon which this film is based, K Blows Top, takes its title from the New York Daily News’ headline after the canceled trip to the happiest place on Earth. The book’s subtitle, A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist gives us an idea of the tone for this film, but a summary below from Publisher’s Weekly gives us a little more insight:

Although Punch magazine famously commented on the humor of Nikita Khrushchev’s desire to visit Disneyland during his 1959 trip to America, Peter Carlson a former writer for the Washington Post, can still mine the tour with hilarious results, due in equal parts to Khrushchev’s outsized provocateur personality and the bizarre and thoroughly American reaction to his visit. Numerous secondary players provide comic support: then vice president Richard Nixon’s fixations on mano a mano debates with the quicksilver premier; Boston Brahmin and U.N. ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Khrushchev’s tour guide, who dutifully filed daily analysis of Khrushchev’s public tantrums; popular gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, who in a noteworthy example of bad taste attacked Mrs. Khrushchev’s attire. A host of other American icons also make appearances: among them Herbert Hoover, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra. Although Carlson’s focuses on the comic, there are insights into Khrushchev’s personality, many provided by his son Sergei, now a respected professor at Brown University, illuminating the method in Khrushchev’s madness. All in all, in Carson’s hands the cold war is a surprisingly laughing matter.

Around The Web

Television

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “The Gift”

While it's admirable to put yourself in harm's way in the defense of others, that altruism eventually ends with a blade between the ribs or being thrown into a prison cell. George R.R. Martin's gift to his characters just keeps on giving.

Here’s What’s Leaving Netflix in June: JACK REACHER, THE ROCKETEER, and More

Time to hurry up and watch 'Snatch', 'The Silence of the Lambs', and 'Taxi Driver'.

ORPHAN BLACK Recap: “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”

After two whole seasons, Dylan Bruce finally gets to show off what he's capable of.

Here’s What’s New to Netflix in June: Marvel, Scorsese, and More

'The Aviator', 'Transformers: Age of Extinction', and an original series from the Wachowski siblings are among the new releases coming to Netflix next month.

New SCREAM QUEENS Featurette: Go Behind the Scenes with Ryan Murphy and the Cast

Everyone has a motive ...

TV Performer of the Week: Tom Cavanagh, THE FLASH

A mysterious and captivating performance that provided a great complexity for the season's main question mark.

FX Orders Kurt Sutter’s THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER to Series

'True Blood' actor Stephen Moyer and Katey Segal lead the cast of the 13th Century-set drama.

See First Photos of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

And they are everything fans could possibly want.

Red Nose Day: Watch Anna Kendrick as Indiana Jones, Kermit Singing, More

In the first Red Nose Day special on American shores (benefitting the charity Comic Relief), celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Anna Kendrick, and even Kermit the Frog all showed up to participate in the live telecast.

Watch GAME OF THRONES: THE MUSICAL Starring Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and More

The 'Game of Thrones' cast and Coldplay got together to create a 12-minute sketch to raise money for Red Nose Day.

Page 1 of 68312345...102030...Last »